Passwords no longer fulfill their role

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A study commissioned by Okta found that the security concerns associated with password use in businesses would be detrimental to employee morale. The majority would even be open to passwordless authentication techniques.

The “The Passwordless Future Report” study, commissioned by publisher Okta, a company that specializes in identity management solutions, unequivocally demonstrates “that employees can experience negative emotions and stress from forgetting passwords and that it can affect not only their career, but also their emotional health.” In any event, Dr. Maria Bada, a research associate at the University of Cambridge, made this remark. This consultation, which was conducted out by the Opinium Institute among 4,000 employees working in the UK, France, and the Netherlands, makes a concerning observation about the relationship between these and their passwords, which is consistent with research recently completed.

78% of respondents, and 86% of those between the ages of 18 and 34, admit to memorizing their identification numbers in an unsafe way. Among them, 34% use the same password across many accounts, 26% write down their passwords on paper, 17% store them on their computer or smartphone, and 6% are content with samples that are well known (the famous 123456, admin or password). Only 14% of people are using password managers.

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According to Maria bada, security systems and regulations that don’t take into account users’ working styles, organizational strategies, or simplicity of use can lead to insecure corporate practices and users’ lack of care for security. “Passwords can expose a lot of information. Users choose the ones that spontaneously come to mind or have a strong emotional impact because they need to generate them quickly. In reality, passwords are unconscious. Criminals are highly aware of this and can easily guess them with some investigation.

Biometrics as a credible alternative?

Even staff are finding the safety problem to be a source of anxiety. When they forget their password, 62% of respondents say they get anxious, and 63% say they get anxious just thinking about memorizing ten passwords at once, which is the study’s average number for daily life. So what remedies could we find for this contemporary ill? The password’s exclusivity in terms of authentication, according to Nicolas Petroussenko, regional vice-president and general manager of Okta France, may very well be in doubt. The use of biometrics or facial recognition is one example of a strategy that aims to democratize new authentication methods while maintaining a high level of security. The expectations of customers themselves also support these tendencies.

Employees who are anticipating biometric authentication are considering the digital method 16% of the time, facial recognition 6%, and optical fingerprinting 4%. (Source: Okta)

Among these potential directions, biometric technology is primarily preferred. 70% of respondents, 78% if we simply look at the French data, and even 81% of respondents who are between the ages of 18 and 34 mention it as having professional advantages. The sole caveat, which is far from insignificant, is that 86% of the employees polled questioned the companies’ ability to protect the personal information gathered through the use of biometrics (92% in France). 13% merely don’t trust this technology, 15% worry about a system failure that would simply prevent them from functioning, and 21% envisage a data hacking situation.

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